Meet the Staff: Laurie Jean Talun

Laurie Jean Talun, Regional Housing and Community Development Grants Manager

Laurie Jean joined the TJPDC in the fall of 2022. She works to administer funding for housing services and community development efforts in collaboration with local governments.

Q: What led you to working at the TJPDC?

Last fall, I ran across a posting for the Regional Housing and Community Development Grants Manager position, which led me to learn more about the far-reaching work of the TJPDC. At first I was drawn to this because of my interest in public health, and housing is a critical social determinant of health. In the past, I have enjoyed developing grant proposals and programs that have a meaningful impact on the lives of people in the community where I live. It’s exciting to be learning about housing in our region, and learning from all of the people who have dedicated their lives to finding solutions for so long. More and more, I’m enjoying the team I work with at TJPDC – they’re supportive and intelligent people, who contribute a great deal to our region, even though many people don’t know about all the work they’re doing behind the scenes!

Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked in non-profits helping develop violence prevention and crisis intervention programs. My main focus was on primary prevention, which is about promoting positive solutions that prevent harm before it occurs, rather than waiting to respond after harm is caused. I’ve had the privilege to partner with amazing leaders throughout our region, and see so much positive movement in this community. I believe there is just as much energy and skill dedicated to increasing access to housing, and am grateful to get to partner alongside so many people who have already accomplished so much.

Q: What’s something you’d like to share about yourself?

I geek out about a lot of things, but the human limbic system is one of them. There’s something so amazing about what scientists are discovering about how foundational these brain functions are. There’s the thalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala, the hypothalamus – all helping us experience and respond to our environment, organize incoming sensory information, store and retrieve the “gist” of memories, regulate temperature and thirst, experience time as it passes. Somehow, learning little tidbits about how our brains process emotions and engage with the world, makes it even more interesting being alive.

I also geek out about nature. I got to do the 9-month adult foundations course at Living Earth School a few years ago, and recently was visiting and got to hold a bear skull that someone had found in the forest. I think the world we live in is amazing, and we’re so lucky we get to experience it!